All You Need to Know About The 8th Annual Homegrown Arts and Music Fest Battle Of The Bands Contestants

Homegrown Arts and Music Fest is one of the biggest celebrations of local music in Illinois. They’re all about giving bands/artists from the Chicago-land area the opportunity to showcase their original music to great amounts of people. We’re huge supporters of this festival, and WONC will be their top sponsor this year! We admire how Aaron Williams, founder of Homegrown Arts and Music Festival, has stepped up to the plate to ensure a safe experience for all concert-goers amid this global pandemic. One of the many tough adjustments he’s had to make was to cut the festival in half this year to only 11 bands. Since it’s extremely difficult for him to pick the final performers, he’s left it up to fans to decide in a Battle of The Bands. Although he wishes all of the bands in the competition could take the stage this year, only two bands can perform at Homegrown 2020. Below are descriptions of all the bands competing in the Battle of the Bands:

Curious Grace & Black Rabbit

  • Description: Indie-rock band from Riverside, Illinois.
  • Fun Fact: Singer Heidi O’ Toole performed with the USO for our troops.
  • Why vote for them: “Right now, we all need to sing, shout and laugh. Curious Grace & Black Rabbit uses the stage like a holy war – rallying crowds to dive into their music and leave energized and exhilarated.”- Mary Erangey, vocalist, electric cellist, Irish whistler, co-writer
  • Check them out here


  • Description: Indie-rock band from the burbs.
  • Fun Fact: They created their first music video ever for their tune “Sandwiches” from the comfort of their own homes during quarantine.
  • Why vote for them: “If you vote for Halfdog, all of your wildest dreams will come true. Seriously though, you haven’t heard or seen a band like this one. Halfdog’s perfectly-seasoned blend of digitally influenced beats, echoing guitars, smooth synths, and three singer/songwriters sets us apart. Whether you’ve been with us since 2016 or you’re just tuning in for the first time, we pride ourselves on making every live performance an experience that moves a crowd of any size from zero to party in minutes. And right now, the world needs to party from home more than ever.” – Anthony Maas, guitarist, synths, singer-songwriter.
  • Check them out here

Lost Pyramids

  • Description: Psychedelic Rock band from Chicago.
  • Fun Fact: Their favorite bands are The Grateful Dead and Vulfpeck.
  • Why vote for them: “We feel that we should play at Homegrown because we’re really one of the only jam bands that is in the selection process and we really wanna spread the vibes of our music, especially in these tough times. Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile, as a wise man once said.”- Chuck Wilson, guitarist, vocalist
  • Check them out here

Mel Senese

  • Description: Alternative Pop-rock from the suburbs.
  • Fun Fact: Mel has opened up for Dorothy in the Chicago leg of her tour in 2019 and 2020.
  • Why vote for them: “My band is all about high energy and positivity. Everyone has been super excited to get together and rock out on a stage, rather than stripped back acoustic sets. I have really been focused on finding inspiration within life’s everyday struggles, and self interpreting themes like feminism, independence, justice and self-love. Playing live with my band takes these emotions to a new height each and every time. It’s been a minute, and you may just get a somersault out of me will all this held in energy and excitement!!!”- Mel Senese.
  • Check Mel and her band out here


  • Description: Disco-funk band from Bartlett, Illinois.
  • Fun Fact: They began as the rhythm section of their high school jazz band.
  • Why vote for them: “We have a vibrant energy that can be seen in our original material, as well as our stage presence. We played the Homegrown battle of the bands in 2019 and we earned a spot to play at the fest last year. We want to come back and show what we’ve been working on. We have developed a more centralized sound and image. We would also be playing some unreleased material if we get selected, so be on the look out for that. We are starting to further understand who we are as a band, so we are looking to hopefully bring that to Homegrown 2020.”- Jared Brown, drummer
  • Check them out here

The Million Reasons

  • Description: Roots indie-rock band from the Chicago-land area.
  • Fun Fact: They came up with their name before the popular song by Lady Gaga came out!
  • Why vote for them: “We pride ourselves on putting on a great, energetic live show, and we strive to be the band everyone remembers when leaving the concert that night.” – Ken Ugel, guitarist
  • Check them out here

The Speedwagon

  • Description: Blues-rock band from Bolingbrook, Illinois.
  • Fun Fact: They all like to play Call of Duty with their dads.
  • Why vote for them: “We deserve to play because of our one of a kind sound and pop songwriting approach. Our songs were written together as a unit, not individually.”- AJ Calcagno, vocalist and guitarist of The Speedwagon.
  • Check them out here

Stanley &The Baskets

  • Description: Funk band from Roselle, Illinois.
  • Fun Fact: Stanley promises to write five brand new tunes if he gets to perform at Homegrown.
  • Why vote for them: “Part of why charcuterie boards are so good is that you get a mix of all sorts of different flavors. Funky cheese, salty cured meats, crackers that melt in your mouth, and delicious jams to bind it all together. That’s us. You’ll get funk, you’ll get rock, you’ll get hip hop, and you’ll be licking jams off your fingers all day. Just make sure to order enough so you can fill up a basket and share it with your friends. You won’t leave a Baskets show hungry.”
  • Check them out here

All of these bands are so talented and deserving of playing on the Homegrown stage. Cast your vote here! Who are you voting for to perform at the 8th annual Homegrown Arts and Music Festival? Let us know in the comments!

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